Public Lecture in NYC at The Players club

October 2, 2019

The Friends of the American Philosophical Society Present


-Robin Wolfe Scheffler-

Associate Professor in the MIT Program on Science, Technology, and Society &

2012 American Philosophical Society Research Fellow


Giving A Public Lecture on His Recent Book  

A Contagious Cause: The American Hunt for Cancer Viruses and the Rise of Molecular Medicine


Wednesday, October 2, at 7pm


The Players Club, 16 Gramercy Park South, New York, NY




A Contagious Cause is the first book to trace the century-long hunt for a human cancer virus in America, an effort whose scale exceeded that of the Human Genome Project. The government’s campaign merged the worlds of molecular biology, public health, and military planning in the name of translating laboratory discoveries into useful medical therapies. However, its expansion into biomedical research sparked fierce conflict. Many biologists dismissed the suggestion that research should be planned and the idea of curing cancer by a vaccine or any other means as unrealistic, if not dangerous. Although the American hunt was ultimately fruitless, this effort nonetheless profoundly shaped our understanding of life at its most fundamental levels. A Contagious Cause links laboratory and legislature as has rarely been done before, creating a new chapter in the histories of science and American politics. More information may be found at: